In this paper, genetic algorithm based and gradient-based topology optimization is presented in application to a real hardware design problem. Preliminary design of a planetary lander mockup structure is accomplished using these methods that prove to provide major weight savings by addressing the structural efficiency during the design cycle. This paper presents two alternative formulations of the topology optimization problem. The first is the widely-used gradient-based implementation using commercially available algorithms. The second is formulated using genetic algorithms and internally developed capabilities. These two approaches are applied to a practical design problem for hardware that has been built, tested and proven to be functional. Both formulations converged on similar solutions and therefore were proven to be equally valid implementations of the process. This paper discusses both of these formulations at a high level.